Lilla was one of the young participants, representing Hungarian University of Sports Science, that took part in our Erasmus+ Sport funded Sport for Sustainable Development project training course in Tokyo, Japan.
Read about her experience.
I am Lilla Török: researcher, sport psychologist and referee in track & field. I also consider myself a pacifist and a friend of the blue planet called Earth. My nationality is Hungarian, but I live and work in France as a postdoctoral researcher now. Approximately three years ago the head of our department (Department of Psychology and Sport Psychology, Hungarian University of Sports Science) chose me as a potential participant representing Hungary for this training course. I happily said yes for this opportunity.
First of all, I would like to say thank you to the EU, the ENGSO Youth Team, the representatives of the Kokushikan University (who hosted and treated us amazingly) and the participants from all over the world for making this event happen. There were many types of participants from different cultures and countries attending the program with various working and interest profiles. However, we are all similar in – at least two aspects: – the way how we think about the importance of sustainability (especially these times, when energy hasn’t been hotter topic in Europe) and the love towards physical activity and sport. It is always exciting meeting similar people. This program not just brought this into life but did so in the place where the above mentioned philosophical “tenets” further developed in practice in a large scale (Olympic Games).
From my side, I found the training course influential and important in four different aspects. First, it made possible to meet personally. This might be the most important one. Meeting other people who have similar or the same mindset relating to an important aspect of our thinking creates the feeling of relatedness, being understood, included and validated by others. This single act can reinforce the way how we think about a certain topic. In addition, besides reinforcing and validating, it can exaggerate the magnitude of the perceived validity of that thought (this is called group polarization). As such, my opinion and views about sustainability became even more pronounced. As a researcher, we started to plan several interventions to make people aware of the litter (and dog stool) around them and motivate them to behave in a more ecologically aware way. After this week I feel more committed to these types of interventions. This motivation coupled with scientific knowledge – I believe – is a powerful tool to initiate and move forward positive changes.
Second, meeting other people gives a possibility to create a social network, that one might build on in the future. This is so in a personal as well as in a professional way. One has the possibility to meet other work domains and opportunities, also implementing the material (or more like a mindset) of the training course we know who to turn to in a particular country or organization.
Third, being in a completely different culture and meeting people with completely different norms make one more open and acceptant to differences. In the EU this purpose is especially important considering the depression in terms of the democratic norms in some member states.
As sport event organizers we also can capitalize on the course. I really hope that educated people would have the opportunity to lead organizations and organizational committees in our countries, who aware of the SDG-s, and are willing to implement them in the future. Unfortunately, there are many countries, where EU and sustainability policies are not on the table and far from common sense, in addition are unknown for the people. The way how SDG-s are being advertised in streets of Tokyo is unimaginable for e.g., a Hungarian citizen. Making these policies and practices spread among people – I believe – could make the world a better place, since it can create a norm.